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Officials: Illness not cause for worry
A case of Eastern equine encephalitis has surfaced in south Georgia, but district health officials say it is no cause to be alarmed on the coast.

The case of Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE as it is known for short, was reported in a horse in Lanier County, about 100 miles southwest of Brunswick, in recent weeks, said Courtney Sheeley, spokesperson for South Health Public System.

"We have seen our first case of EEE in an animal, not in a human. This is the fourth horse in the state of Georgia," Sheeley said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is rare in humans and only a few cases are reported in the U.S. each year.

Most persons who are infected with EEE have no apparent illness, but severe cases begin with sudden onset of headaches, high fever, chills and vomiting. Illness can then progress into disorientation, seizures or coma, and even death.

Protection from EEE and other viruses are as easy as staying protected from mosquito bites, Sheeley said.

"Most importantly, protecting from mosquitoes is important," Sheeley said. "If you can, limit your time outdoors at dusk and dawn, and apply repellent while outside."

Sally Silbermann, spokeswoman for the Coastal Health District, which includes Glynn County and neighboring counties, says no cases of EEE have been reported in the Coastal Health District.

The virus is no stranger to the community, however. EEE claimed the life of an elderly man in the south end of Brunswick in June 2003, and the virus showed up again in the Golden Isles in October 2010.

West Nile, another mosquito-transmitted virus, claimed the lives of two elderly men and infected a third last summer.



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